Covid-19 is the new normal. But when it comes to keeping the lines of communication open with your clients and customers, what does that mean? Should you change how you reach out? Should you do what you’ve always done? How do you successfully navigate client communications during a pandemic? Here are five tips for successful COVID-19 conversations:
1. Be Honest and Upfront About Service Delays
With so many businesses operating with pandemic-related limitations or worse–are temporarily shuttered–being honest and upfront about potential service delays is essential for good client relationships.
If your business relies on delivery-dependent goods or services, you might be facing delays that, in turn, end up impacting your clients. Offering insight into the type of timeframe delays your clients might endure helps them to mitigate any disruptions on their end. Will USPS deliver your final product within 14 days compared to pre-COVID deliveries of 7 days? Are supplies you need to complete client work held up at a border, meaning a longer turnaround to complete an assignment?
Being honest and upfront with clients making sure they accurately understand the situation means they won’t be surprised by unexpected delays.
2. Be Authentic and Stick to Your Existing Branding
(AKA Don’t Try New Gimmicks Just to Get Attention)
Ensuring all messaging you take aligns with the fundamental values that form your branding framework. Hopping on board with gimmicks will not only chip away at your hard-earned authority and respect, but you run the risk of losing clients in the process.
Suppose you get your car serviced at a local auto repair shop specializing in GM. How would you feel if their latest email blast suddenly only talked about Honda race cars? Sure, they can still do the same, but would you feel as comfortable handing over the keys to your beloved GM? Your clients are no different.
Finding ways to talk about the pandemic as it relates to your business and brand is fine. Personal stories or perspectives can help form bridges increasing client engagement. Just don’t abandon the values and ideals that are the foundation of your brand just because things are different.
3. Be Compassionate–Everybody’s Handling This Differently
Are you one of the lucky freelancers who worked from home before the pandemic began shutting down businesses? If you are, your daily routine may not have shifted too dramatically. But it hasn’t been like that for everyone. It’s important to remember some freelancers have had their entire world restructured.
As you engage clients through messaging, social media, email, etc., consider how clients attempt to mitigate the pandemic impact. Are they trying to work on a laptop at the kitchen table with a homeschool student as a coworking partner? is their job suddenly on the front lines adding a new level of stress to their daily lives?
If you have to schedule a conference call with a client, can you offer to adapt your schedule to their child’s naptime? Can you get by with just an email instead of a virtual face-to-face? Can you extend invoice due dates to coincide with state or federal benefit or stimulus payments? The little considerations you take can have a significant impact on the other person.
4. Leverage Live Events
Face-to-face conversations have never been more important. Connecting in real-time with clients is not only a compelling networking tool; it’s an essential aspect of our new, often isolated reality. And something critical to our overall physical and mental health.
Rather than just posting pre-filmed videos, schedule a date and time to go live. It’s a powerful way to remind your clients you are more than your brand, that you are a real person. Coming together humanizes your brand and feeds our fundamental human need for social interaction.
- Have a ‘happy hour’ and get. together with clients (provide an option to have children or other family members participate) to chat about the day’s events while sharing a virtual coffee or cocktail
- Host an AMA “ask me anything” session where clients or followers can submit questions about your services and your brand
- More outgoing types can benefit from hosting virtual karaoke events, how-to classes, or inspiring mini TED-type talks aimed at newbies in your business.
5. Use Downtime to Learn a New Skill
Are you experiencing downtime because of the pandemic? You could be sitting on a goldmine of an opportunity. Filling empty slots on your calendar with online courses for freelancers can mean adding valuable tools to your freelancer toolkit.
Stay On Top of Things with Fiverr
Whether you’re studying the basics of social media marketing, discovering how to design a logo, or writing a business plan, leveraging downtime can be very beneficial. With just a few short classes, you might start a new business or promote or scale your current business. Your only limit is your imagination.